Chuck Culig, RTD R Line Project Manager began his October 4 presentation to the Transportation committee with a visual history of the R Line through Aurora, providing before and after photos, illustrating the incredible work and dedication put into the R Line, which opened on February 24, 2017.
Beginning in 2012 with the construction of the Nine Mile to Iliff Station segment, RTD collaborated with CDOT to widen I-225 from Parker Road to Mississippi and to add light rail envelope. Then, in 2013 construction of the full line began as a result of an unsolicited proposal from Kiewit, with eight new stations – complete with public art (see Business for the Arts September 5 committee report), and connects to the University of Colorado A Line at the Peoria Station.
There were some early challenges with the R Line, including the request from CU to relocate the Montview Station, as well as coordinating multiple projects along the rail alignment throughout construction.
Now, there is a new challenge for the R Line: the possibility of reducing service because the first six months of ridership has not met expectations. The proposal is to end weekday off-peak service south of the Florida Station and eliminate all R Line weekend service on that stretch.
RTD District F Commissioner Bob Broom was at the meeting and shared that he felt that “six months is not enough” to determine the success of the Line.
So, what will help make people take the transit?
Education and marketing seem to be an answer, as well as allowing time for some of the larger developments adjacent to the Line to be finalized. There is also an app that provides real-time information about the arrival and location of the trains. (Next Ride)
The RTD Board of Directors did decide on Tuesday, October 24 to keep the R Line Service as it currently is for weekday service, Monday through Friday, and to reduce services only on the Saturday and Sunday off-peak service south of the Florida Station.